WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBSMiami) — Senate Republicans are trying to unify behind a plan to repeal just a few provisions of Obamacare that they do not like. It’s one of the few options left for GOP lawmakers to keep a campaign promise, but the outcome is far from certain.
“We all know this is likely to be a very long night,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Senators are settling in for a possible all-nighter on the future of health care.
Republicans are deeply divided about how to repeal and replace Obamacare but they’re making a final push to pass what’s being called the “skinny repeal” – one that a group of GOP Senators are even threatening to kill if conditions aren’t met.
“It is not a solution to the Affordable Care Act problem, but it is a solution to how we can get to a place where we write a solution,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN).
Details of the skinny bill are still being hashed out but it’s expected to eliminate the medical device tax. It also eliminates the mandate that individuals have health insurance and for employers to offer it.
“The idea their backup plan is being written at lunch and takes $16 million out of healthcare means that they should start over,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI).
Democrats are unanimously opposed to the GOP effort and it’s still unclear whether moderate Republicans will support this plan.
“I don’t know what’s in it still,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME).
“I haven’t seen it yet,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).
The Trump administration is putting pressure on GOP holdouts including Alaska’s Senator Lisa Murkowski who received a call from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
According to the Alaska Dispatch News, Zinke allegedly told Murkowski that her actions were jeopardizing Alaska’s future with the administration.
“The reality is that it was a difficult conversation…what I have told the president since he was elected was I’m here to help the people of Alaska,” said Murkowski.
To get anything passed, the GOP leadership can only afford “no” votes from two Republican Senators.
If the skinny bill does pass, it would likely go to House and Senate negotiators to hash out a final agreement that both chambers would have to vote on.